Re: Trevor, sign it. Because it's not just your skills that matter.
He's not particularly Anonymous. If he is who I think he is - and there's only one candidate given both the style of the prose and the details discussed - he's also 100x the everything I'll ever be. That particular AC is faster, stronger, smarter, better, in way better shape, with way better contacts, less ADD, a keener mind and an ability to learn things quicker than I'll ever have. Oh, and he's got dashing good looks to boot.
Oh, he had a rough spot there for a while. He had some dark times...but 12 years ago we started from the same point. He was always the better at everything, and he always manged to leverage his contacts to achieve his goals more completely.
It's easy to maintain confidence when you're a genius Superman with an innate knack for code, automation and politics alike.
I agree the mandarins run everything. If I've created a life for myself in writing, he's build one for himself in running the mandarins that run everything. And frankly, that's good and fine. I'd be glad to be counted amongst such fine professionals as would be like him, though I've no right to play remotely in the same ballpark, it would be an honour.
But who rules the roost? And what will they make of me? Are they the "elite" like our fellow Christian Berger? Filled with disdain for the diseconomied and believers in One True Path, whatever that path may be? Or are they believers in a careful and methodical consideration based on requirements and available resources?
I am a product as much of my writing now as my systems administration. I swim in a world of marketing and sales, of angry commenttards and vicious emails. If I don't buy into Docker, the public cloud, the NSA watching us all the time, Cisco, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, open source everything and $deity knows what else I'm a failure's failure and the hoards upon hoards will see to it that I am vanquished.
But somewhere, some part of me never changed. I grew, I evolved, my skills changed...but the me at the center didn't. I care about what's right. About helping others. About the truth. About the needs of the many, even when they have no resources and are just trying to compete in a hostile world filled with monsters that want to drive them out of business, depress their wages or replace them with robots.
I don't do "belief". This makes me a good choice for writing for The Register, because shit disturbing, asking pointed question and so forth is the actual job. But it's a really difficult thing when you are a systems administrator. Sysadmins who ask too many questions are kicked out. Sysadmins are supposed to be subservient; they are not to rock the boat.
Yet I look at the Sony debacle. What if they had had what I consider to be a real sysadmin? Someone who takes the ethics of truth and the needs of the many to heart, and never stops questioning, never stops pushing? Would Sony have been hacked if they had a hardass in charge who constantly pushed for improvement? For security? For "the right thing" over "the convenient thing"?
This is where our Superman AC and I diverged in chronology. I pushed and pushed and pushed and fought and clawed and bit and screamed for 8 years. I built wonders out of nothing. Spun gold from cobwebs and worked myself right up to my grave. He kept going.
After 8 years of expending my heart upon the battlefield I couldn't do it. I said "yes sir" and "thank you sir" and "as you wish sir" and just did what I was told. Occasionally, I mustered enough energy to fight back...but those periods became more and more infrequent, and they carried less passion each time.
Our Superman AC, however...he beat the system. He scored victory after victory, win after win. He managed to drive agreements and compromises and evolve networks beyond the need for him. It has caused me doubt for some time now.
Did I have the harder battle to fight, or is he just that much better at playing the game? I wonder frequently. And if I went back to dip my oar into systems administration again full time...could I do it with the passion I once had? With the steadfast zeal for maintaining my ethics?
How much of our successes was about believing in the cause of those we worked for? How much about ability, and courage and drive?
I'm good at fixing computers, damn it. Good enough to take on our Superman AC and win almost half the time, and he's the best I've ever seen...and I've met the tops of the tops from startups, the fortune 500 and a government. Despite a few grousing naysayers who want to troll me in the comments, I know my skillset. Like our Superman AC, if you handed me a ship like Sony I have the technical ability to not only right it, but to rebuild it better than it was before.
But would I be able to play the politics game? Would I be able to bob and weave and compromise and blackmail to get what needs to be done, done? Could i put in the hours, and the worry, the sweat and the tears? Or is that spent; and I am nothing more than some technical skills and the ability to make pretty words come together in a sometimes useful marriage?
To me, an Engineer isn't just someone who builds a bridge, it's someone who makes damned sure that the process of building that bridge will be as safe as possible and that the final result will stand the test of time and not cost lives. To me, a Doctor is someone someone who not just practices medicine, but puts the well being of others above all else. And a professional sysadmin should, in theory, have the same dedication to doing things as right as they know how...no matter how many or few resources they have left.
I guess that's what it really boils down to. A tired old soldier staring at his sword, wondering if he's got enough left for one last campaign. And hell, I'm only 32. This industry really can suck.
Anyways, that's enough rambling for now...